Apple and Aetna Insurance are working together to develop iOS health apps for Apple Watch along with the iPhone and iPad as part of Aetna’s wellness reimbursement program. Aetna seems to be making a real effort to connect with users where they live, but how does this play tie into healthcare?
Aetna and Apple Goal: Get Fit and Fashionable
Aetna is encouraging customers to be more healthy through technology and popular culture trends. By partnering with Apple, the health insurer gets both tech and pop culture in one. The company is writing apps specifically for iOS devices which not only measure data, but remind users to take their medications, pay premiums, and even offer support groups for problems or goals.
This is a brilliant play by Aetna. Other health insurance companies have made forays into wearable tech, such as Fitbit, but none have invested as much time and resources into creating custom tech utilizing a leading tech giant such as Apple. But while creating apps for tech is one thing, getting that tech into the hands of users is another thing altogether.
Enter Aetna’s brilliant plan: subsidizing Apple Watches.
The health insurer is giving 50,000 of its employees free Apple Watches to encourage employees to live more productive, healthy lives. And while that plants a healthy seed, company employees don’t bring in much revenue. Their friends may follow their lead, but the company(smartly) has a plan to make a bigger splash.
Aetna will make the Apple Watch available to some large employers and individual customers during an open enrollment period and will subsidize a “significant” portion of the cost. In addition, it is offering employees of its customers a monthly payroll deduction plan to pay for the remaining cost of the device, making Apple Watch an easy sell.
So how do these insurers benefit?
By creating the apps and subsidizing the cost of the watch for members, Aetna is making the “which insurance company do I use” decision easy for customers. Cell phone providers have been using the strategy for years by offering free phones to customers for signing two-year contracts. Aetna is just using a more appealing product. And by creating the apps, they will have direct access to more real-time information than they’ve ever had before.
Take a look in this new program when you watch this video from Information Technology.
While select companies already have access to the plan, individual customers will be able to take advantage of 2017 enrollment. As the subsidies kick in and Aetna enrollment goes up, so will Aetna (AET) shares.
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